Figure skating has been a lifetime passion of mine since a very young age and seeing that our sport evolve over the years opened my eyes to how fast skating equipment has changed. Skating boots, blades, accessories all evolve over time. In this case, the skating boot industry is extremely competitive. Manufactures like Harlick, SP-Teri, and Riedell are now having to keep up with new boot companies like Edea or Jackson who are looking at lighter and stronger materials that is changing the face of our industry. 

While attending the 2015 Skate Dallas competition in Plano, Texas, I walked passed a vendor called Avanta Skating Boots. What made me stop at their booth was the fact that they were a new boot company who I have never heard of AND that they look very similar to my classic Klingbeil skating boots- the skates that I've been using since 1988. I talked with their lead boot designer, Will Murillo, who actually used to work for Klingbeil in his early teens and now works for Avanta. After talking to him he re-introduced me to Don Klingbeil who walked in and sat down in an empty seat. I had a chance to talk with Don and he told me to give Avanta a try. So, the next day I showed up at the rink that afternoon and got myself fitted for new skates. The last pair that I had were made by Will and Don back in 2000 when my skaters at nationals convinced me that I needed new skates for coaching. 

Avanta's process was quite different from how Klingbeil used to measure my feet for new skates. They use a system called STS Casting System in which you would place your foot in a wet sock that would create a cast. See video by clicking here. After they measure my feet, I looked at various options on different features that I would like for my boot. This time I was bold enough to order skates with red soles- just like the very fashionable Christian Louboutin shoes. For years I've been known to order my skating boots with natural, unfinished soles because I like the look of them. But this time I wanted to try something different. 

In addition, I ordered new John Wilson Gold Seal Parabolic blades which I totally love. I was using the Jackson Matrix Supreme blades but really did not care for how they felt on the ice. They had too much drag and did not respond like my old Gold Seal blades. So, I went back to the classic Gold Seals and I absolutely love them.

Unfortunately, these skates took a lot longer to build. When I first placed my order, they told me 6 weeks but they had issues with their machines which delayed a lot of orders, including mine. I wasn't in a rush so I waited it out and received my new skates in 15 weeks. Ugh! But it was worth the wait. When I received them and put them on my feet for the first time, they fit like a glove. I really like the insole that they used but I ended up taking it out to flatten the arch even more since my feet are very flat. My first day skating in them felt great but very stiff. By my third time skating in them, I felt a lot more comfortable in them after working the insole a little more. The interior lining is made of a material called Clarino. Clarion is a synthetic material that is much lighter than leather and is very strong. I really like the padding in the heels and their new tongue is very comfortable. The red soles were not painted on. They are actually made of the same materials that are the same materials used in the famous Rockerz skate guards. The reason why they like using this type of sole is because it repels water well and does not strip your screws that hold your blade in place. Its also much lighter than leather soles. The heel is much smaller than what I'm used to on my old skates but I actually like them. They make the skates feel much lighter. And they have the classic eye hook pattern adopted by Klingbeil.

Like many businesses, Avanta has had a few unsatisfied customers. Some of them experienced bad blade mounting while others are having to wait more than 12 weeks. For my order, I requested that Will do the measuring and STS system as well as building the boot. I also request that Will or Charles Sinek, another person involved with Avanta, mount my blades. They offer a lifetime of skate sharpening since I bought both the boots and blade from them which, to me, sounds like a great deal. 

Conclusion

I really love these skates. I know it'll take me a while to fully break them in but overall, they fit perfectly and have not given me any problems. As for Klingbeil skates, although I miss the traditional look and feel of my old skates that was produced over the years using the same wooden lasts of my feet, I'm giving Avanta a try. Yes, I'm taking a risk BUT feel that sometimes taking a risk can be good. And although my order took longer than expected, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I was worth the wait. 

Update: 10/27/15

Since having these skates, I can only say that I really like them. They fit like a glove and are very light. I understand that there are some people who don't like them because they didn't fit right or that its not what they ordered. Make sure that the person who does the STS system does it right. If you see an Avanta representative at your local competition, talk to them and get fitted by them. Will did a great got with my fitting and therefore when I put my foot in the skates, they fit perfectly and feel extremely comfortable. 

For more information on this amazing new boot company, check out their website at www.avantaskatingboots.com. You can also follow them Facebook and/or Instagram as well. 

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